Silver Spring, MD – The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) today announced the results of its March accreditation hearings. Twenty zoos and aquariums across North America were granted AZA accreditation by its independent Accreditation Commission.
"Only the very best zoos and aquariums can meet and maintain AZA accreditation standards," said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. "AZA accreditation is an important assurance to the public that these institutions will provide a high-quality experience for them when they visit, and that they have met the highest standard in every aspect of their operations."
Meeting Ever-Rising Standards
All twenty institutions underwent a thorough investigation to ensure they have and will continue to meet ever-rising standards, which include animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education, and safety. AZA requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete this rigorous accreditation process in order to be members of the Association, and are required to resubmit to this process every five years.
Institutions Earning Accreditation
Adventure Aquarium, Camden, NJ
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, New Orleans, LA
Birch Aquarium at Scripps, San Diego, CA
Florida Aquarium, Tampa, FL
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, Glen Rose, TX
Gladys Porter Zoo, Brownsville, TX
John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, IL
Living Desert, Palm Desert, CA
Memphis Zoo, Memphis, TN
Montgomery Zoo, Montgomery, AL
Museum of Science, Boston, MA
Nashville Zoo, Nashville, TN
National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, Dubuque, IA
Newport Aquarium, Newport, KY
Oakland Zoo, Oakland, CA
Reid Park Zoo, Tucson, AZ
Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga, TN
The Seas, Orlando, FL
Virginia Living Museum, Newport News, VA
Zoo Atlanta, Atlanta, GA
New Members to AZA
Included in the list of recently accredited are two institutions that are receiving AZA-accreditation for the first time - the Mississippi River Museum and the Virginia Living Museum - bringing the current number of AZA-accredited institutions to 218.
"Every visit you make to an AZA-accredited zoo or aquarium supports wildlife conservation." Maddy added. "It's an opportunity for families to get together and connect with conservation."
AZA's Accreditation Commission
The mission of the AZA Accreditation Commission is to establish, uphold, and raise the highest zoological and aquarium industry standards through self-evaluation, on-site inspection, and peer review. The accreditation process includes a detailed application and a meticulous on-site inspection by a team of trained zoo and aquarium professionals.
The inspecting team observes all aspects of the institution's operation in areas such as animal care (including living environment and daily enrichment), keeper training, safety for animals, staff, and visitors, educational programs, conservation efforts, veterinary programs, financial stability, risk management, visitor services, and other areas. The inspection team prepares an extensive written report for the Accreditation Commission. Finally, top officials are interviewed at a formal Commission hearing, after which accreditation is granted, tabled, or denied. Any institution that is denied may reapply one year after the Commission's decision is made.
Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation. Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting an institution dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. With its more than 200 accredited members, the AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats.
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